Rugby in Ireland is over for the 2019/20 season as the IRFU have concluded the current campaign with immediate effect due to the ongoing concerns over coronavirus.

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The IRFU had initially arranged for a two-week call-off last week through to March 29. However, with Irish government action in combating the virus set to continue beyond that date, rugby officials have opted to cancel the remainder of the season to allow clubs to prepare for the 2020/21 season.

This directive applies to all incomplete national and provincial competitions and was ratified by the IRFU rugby committee on Thursday. Cups will be shared by finalists, where cup competitions have reached the final fixture, while there will be no promotion or relegation in any of the five divisions of the men’s All-Ireland League.

There will be no league or cup winners in any competition organised at a national level including the All-Ireland Leagues, Women’s All-Ireland Cup and the Bateman Cup. The Fraser McMullen U20 Cup, the Junior Interprovincial Championships and the round-robin qualifiers for the All-Ireland League will also not take place.

IRFU director of rugby development Colin McEntee explained: “The decision to end the domestic rugby season for 2019/2020 season has not been made lightly. All options were discussed and the IRFU is satisfied it has arrived at the only equitable solution.

“These are challenging times for us all and we know clubs will be impacted by this directive, but we will look back at this season as one where we put the physical welfare of our rugby community above all else.

“Clubs are now in a position to make plans for the 2020/21 season. We look forward to marking the 30th anniversary of the All-Ireland League.”

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